Sir Gary Verity, the Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire has performed the official opening ceremony for the new Diocesan Office, Church House, in Leeds city centre.
The new headquarters for the diocese, 17-19 York Place LS1 2EX, is on three floors and has replaced the offices of the former dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield, along with the Education office in Harrogate.
Sir Gary is pictured (left) cutting the tape at the entrance along with Bishop Nick Baines, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Gerry Harper and the Lady Mayoress, Miss Lynne Scholes.
Speaking to staff and guests, Sir Gary said he was impressed by the friendly and professional feel of Church House. Having just announced the route of the Tour de Yorkshire 2017 he said it would be going through much of the diocese, passing many of its beautiful churches.
But, he added, "Just as we're about more than bike races, you are about more than buildings and a new office. We're both in the 'inspiration’ business.
“The Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire brought together people who'd never encountered each other before. We're about bringing communities together and bringing about social change. So we're doing the same thing. One of us is concerned with inspiring people about the ultimate destination. The other is about inspiring a belief in God!"
Welcoming Sir Gary, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and guests, Bishop Nick stressed that the new office was there to serve the churches and people of a diocese which covers a 'wide and diverse chunk of Yorkshire' - including the deeply rural, urban and suburban, from small villages to big estates. “We're not here for the sake of the Diocese of Leeds but for the people of this region, " he said.
The winners of the Diocesan Photo Competition were announced during the opening event and Sir Gary Verity presented the three winners and runners-up with large mounted copies of their photographs..
There were three categories ‘Confident Christians’, ‘Beauty in our Buildings’ and ‘Why I love my school’ (the competition for children and young people). The three winning pictures are now on display in the reception area of the new diocesan office.
(Pictured left are winner of 'Why I love my school', Layla Silburn and runner-up, Elliot O’Connor )
Other entries are also on show in a mosaic of pictures on the ground floor at Church House.